Originally published by Politico
The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump would not make a deal with congressional Democrats on immigration until the government shutdown has ended.
“The president will not negotiate on immigration until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” the White House said, according to a pool report.
The White House added that Trump is receiving “regular updates” from the Capitol and has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan on Saturday along with unnamed lawmakers and administration officials.
Some six hours after the federal government shut down began, Trump tweeted that the Democrats had given him a “nice present” on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.
“This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown,” he tweeted at 6:33 a.m. Saturday.
The president remains in Washington after most Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans late Friday night voted down a four-week extension of government funding, prompting a shutdown.
A furious blame game had pre-empted the fruitless negotiations to pass a short-term funding measure, which the president continued Saturday, tweeting: “Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!”
He later tweeted: “For those asking, the Republicans only have 51 votes in the Senate, and they need 60. That is why we need to win more Republicans in 2018 Election! We can then be even tougher on Crime (and Border), and even better to our Military & Veterans!”
The president returned to the immigration versus military theme again, writing: “Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!”
In a statement released shortly before midnight Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Senate Democrats own the Schumer shutdown.”
Trump was scheduled to fly to his Florida residence – Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach – on Friday afternoon, plans which were put on hold by the protracted negotiations and looming shutdown.
The president is scheduled to attend a high-dollar fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night to mark his first year as president. White House officials have said Trump won’t leave Washington until a spending bill is passed.